Remember the time Southgate tube became Gareth Southgate tube, to celebrate an England win?
Or how about the brief stardate when Piccadilly Circus became Picardilly Circus to promote a new Star Trek series?
Transport for London love to play about with their roundels. What was once a rarity now seems to happen every month.
Sometimes the changes promote a good cause or event, such as the ubiquitous roundel poppies each November, or those celebrating Pride. Other times, a company pays to have its branding on a roundel. This was pioneered by Buxton Water in 2015 when they took over Canada Water for the London Marathon.
We thought it was about time someone kept track of all the changes. To that end, we've put together an alternative tube map of alternative roundels, and also listed out every occasion we can find where a roundel has been swapped out.
The alternative roundel tube map
This is a work in progress. We'll add to it as new campaigns are announced. Some stations have had multiple takeovers, in which case we've only selected one for the map. To fill things out a bit, we've also included unusual permanent roundels from the wider network, such as the mosaic roundel of Maida Vale, or the hedge roundel of Euston. Please leave a comment below or email email@example.com for any additions or omissions.
Chronology of alternative roundels
Below, we've listed out every official roundel change we're aware of. We will update the list as new campaigns emerge. Let us know in the comments if we've missed anything. Note: not all of these are visible on the map. We've only included one roundel change for any given station. Piccadilly Circus, for example, has had multiple roundel swaps, including a promotion for Star Trek, a David Hockney artwork, night tube and a Pride roundel.
Apr 2015: Canada Water tube station is rebranded Buxton Water for the day, in a groundbreaking sponsorship deal that ties in with the London Marathon. It's the first time TfL has meddled with its roundel for commercial purposes. It will not be the last.
Jun 2016: Southwark station gets an unusual turquoise and pink roundel designed by Michael Craig-Martin, to celebrate the opening of Tate Modern's extension.
Aug 2016: A series of starry roundels rolls out to promote the new night tube service.
Nov 2016: Tfl unveils a permanent new roundel devoted to Frank Pick at Piccadilly Circus, marking 75 years since his death.
Jun 2017: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road get rainbow roundels for Pride, in what we think was the first example of this now annual tradition.
Dec 2017: The introduction of the night Overground prompts a roundel change at 10 stations.
Jul 2018: Southgate is renamed Gareth Southgate to celebrate the success of the men's English international football team.
Jul 2018: Seven stations get new roundels bearing Pride and trans colours.
Oct 2018: 10 tube stations get roundels displaying poppies in the run up to Remembrance.
Jan 2019: Walthamstow becomes the first London Borough of Culture. Its stations get a "Welcome to the Forest" roundel to celebrate.
Feb 2019: Maud Milton begins installing mosaic roundels at some of the London Overground stations.
Jun 2019: TfL once again celebrates Pride with a range of colourful roundels.
Oct 2019: 25 stations get poppy roundels ahead of Remembrance.
Nov 2019: All roundels at Westminster are given a makeover in the pan-African colours, by British Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong.
Nov 2019: To mark World Children's Day, King’s Cross, Bond Street, Green Park, London Bridge and Victoria get roundels designed by children.
Jan 2020: Eight stations across Brent get "Welcome to the Borough of the Cultures" roundels, to celebrate that borough's tenure as London Borough of Culture. We're told via an FOI request that the cost to the Greater London Authority was £1,417.17.
Jan 2020: Piccadilly Circus rebranded as Picardilly Circus, with the roundel styled to look like a Federation logo. A promotion for Star Trek Picard.
Mar 2020: International Women's Day is marked by a series of roundels in suffragette colours at five stations, each celebrating one remarkable woman.
Oct 2020: Canary Wharf gets a roundel in the colours of O2, to raise awareness of the telecom company's trial of 4G on the Jubilee line.
Nov 2020: Oxford Circus gets Playstation-themed roundel shapes as a promotion from Sony. Meanwhile, Lancaster Gate becomes (somewhat tenuously) Ratchet and Clankaster Gate while West Ham became Horizon Forbidden West Ham and Mile End becomes Miles End to promote Spiderman. We also got Gran Turismo 7 Sisters. Sadly, the UK was in strict lockdown at the time, so few people saw them.
May 2021: David Hockney designs a faux-naive roundel for Piccadilly Circus, to widespread mockery.
May 2021: Three stations get punning roundels to promote a brand of constipation medicine. The stations are Seven Cisterns, Waterloo Roll and Shepherd's Flush.
June 2021: Oxford Circus briefly gets a golden heart-shaped roundel to celebrate the return of Love Island.
July 2021: 16 stations get promotional roundels to encourage us to get back into London after lockdowns. Messages include Retail Therapy (Oxford Circus), Opening Night (Leicester Square), Here Comes Summer (Regent's Park), and Going Out Out (Shoreditch).
July 2021: The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's new Blossom Garden is marked by a celebratory roundel at Stratford.
Sep 2021: 5 tube stations get roundels in celebration of Pride, designed by TfL staff and well-known LGBT+ people, including Amy Lamé and Tim Dunn. Stations are Baker Street, Brixton, Caledonian Road, Hammersmith, Vauxhall.
Nov 2021: 24 stations get poppy roundels for Remembrance.
Nov 2021: The City of London places a roundel in Bank station with the word SMILE, and a squared symbol after the S.
Dec 2021: 12 novelty Christmas roundels are installed at Battersea Power Station, Oxford Circus, Hackney Central and others.
Jan 2022: Green Park's southbound Victoria platform is rebadged as Green Planet, to celebrate (or promote) David Attenborough's barnstorming new TV series.
Jan 2023: A heart-shaped "Love the Tube" roundel is unveiled at several stations to mark the network's 160th anniversary.
Feb 2023: Kew Gardens gets a floral roundel to mark a TfL discounted entry to the attraction.
April 2023: Various stations get "Crowndels", roundels topped with crowns, to mark Charles III's coronation.
September 2023: As part of London Fashion Week, Burberry take over the roundels and signage at Bond Street.
A few of the other alternative roundels on the map
In addition to the creative and commercial roundels listed above the map also include a few unusual roundels from the wider network. These include:
Acton Town: London Transport Museum's Acton Depot stands close by. Within its grounds is a miniature railway, which includes several roundels with novel names.
Archway: The Archway Tavern's entrance includes an unofficial roundel along with a toucan.
Bayswater: Nearby pub the Prince Edward displays its own custom roundel in its window.
Bethnal Green, Gants Hill, Redbridge, Wanstead: Each has platform clocks where the numbers are replaced by roundels.
Borough: A bold concrete roundel stands proud above the station.
Brent: Old name for Brent Cross station, as photographed on a roundel at London Transport Museum Acton Depot.
Debden: A rockery and birdbath in the shape of a roundel.
Ealing Broadway: One of the stations to carry an early form of the underground roundel.
Elephant & Castle: A sculpture trail of elephants included one with a roundel on its bottom.
Euston: Contains a roundel-shaped shaped hedge (or fake hedge).
Fairlop: A subtle roundel is marked out on the road tiles leading up to the station. It is among London's largest roundels.
Maida Vale: A beautiful old mosaic roundel at the top of the stairs.
Moorgate: Carries a replica diamond roundel, which was installed as part of the underground's 150th anniversary in 2013.
Pimlico: A ceiling roundel is 'reflected' in a black outline on the floor.
Selhurst: Not part of the TfL network, but nevertheless sports a mosaic Southern roundel outside.
Sudbury Town: Looks normal at first glance but peer closer. It uses a slightly different serif typeface to the standard New Johnston.
Surrey Docks: Old name for Surrey Quays, photographed on a roundel at London Transport Museum Acton Depot.
Tufnell Park: Vintage signs photographed at London Transport Museum Acton Depot.
Swiss Cottage: One of several stations to have roundel symbols embossed on platform tiles.
West Brompton: A doubly unusual roundel, which includes a wooden frame around the bar, and a non-standard 'W'.
Most images are from our own photo library, or else official shots put out by TfL's press office. A small number were kindly provided by readers, as follows: Highams Park, Tim Gary Garner; Seven Sisters, Barry Brock Choudhury; St James's Street, Pip Holden; Upper Holloway, Jacki Davenport.
Please leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org for any additions or omissions.